Signup Abandonment Emails Case Study: How Drip Increased Trial Signups by 15%

When I first looked at my signup metrics for LinksSpy (the SaaS business I run) I was shocked to learn that 2 out of 3 people would give me their email address only to abandon the signup on the next step. I was losing money and didn’t even know about it!

In this case study I will show you how you can improve your trial signups by roughly 15 percent by reactivating visitors that have abandoned the signup process.

The Standard SaaS Signup Process

The numbers you’ll see here come from a conversation that I had with Drip’s founder and CEO, Rob Walling. Implementing Signup Abandonment Emails improved their signup rates by roughly 15%. I have seen approximately the same results with LinksSpy.

Okay, let’s lay the ground work for our analysis by looking at Drip’s* signup process:

Drip signup process Drip signup process

There is a fair bit of variation between different SaaS products and no two signup processes are alike. But there are patterns that you will recognize when you look at enough of them:

  1. During almost every SaaS signup process you will be asked for your email address and your password
  2. Many startups do ask for your credit card upfront
  3. Often they ask for some additional information relevant to the product
  4. The process is usually split up into two or more steps

Numbers 1 and 3 are pretty much a given; how else are they going to identify customers and get a working app?

Splitting up the process into multiple steps is often a good optimization, because otherwise users will get overwhelmed by the many fields they have to fill out and drop out of the funnel right away. It also works because having already filled in email and password creates a level of commitment and people become more likely to complete the other steps in the funnel.

How Signup Abandonment Affects Your Funnel

The signup process is one part of your overall sales funnel. Like any other step in this funnel (e.g. landing page, pricing page, etc.) some people will drop out of the funnel during the signup process. If you are asking for credit cards upfront this amount can be staggering.

Do you know for your SaaS application what percentage will drop out of the funnel when asked for their credit card? No? Go check. I’ll be waiting here for you :-)

Are you back? Great! Are you devastated from how low that number is? Don’t fret about it, you’re in good company.

From a small survey I did among my friends who run SaaS businesses we all arrived at roughly the same percentage of people who drop out when asked for their credit card details: 60%

You are - right now - losing two thirds of revenue in just one step of the funnel!

Luckily, there is something you can do about that.

How Signup Abandonment Emails Work

I first learned about this email from Drip’s knowledge base (relevant article) - even before I took a look at my own metrics. I was looking at their articles on lifecycle emails for SaaS apps and blindly implemented them all.

Action trumps inaction and sometimes it’s just a good idea to follow the beaten path.

Only later would I learn how much that pays off.

Take a look at Drip’s signup process again, but this time realize that over 60% of users do not complete the second step of the process:

Drip signup process Drip signup process

The good news here is, that at this point the Drip team already has the user’s email address. There is nothing holding them back from ~spamming the living shit out of that user~ graciously reminding the user that they wanted to complete the sign up process and all the good things that will happen after that.

The Drip team waits 3 hours before they send the following to people who started signup but didn’t complete step 2:

Drip signup process

Sending this one simple email helps them recover 15% of the defecting users. It’s dead/that simple!

How to Set Up Signup Abandonment Emails

Now that you know why signup abandonment emails are valuable and how to use them, let’s look at how to implement them using Drip’s Workflow feature. The workflow for this is really simple, take a look yourself:

Signup abandonment emails

When a user performs the custom “started ls registration” event - which is fired upon completing the first step of the signup process on - they enter this workflow.

If they do nothing else - i.e. they abandon the signup process - after a delay of 117 minutes (I avoid round numbers like 2 hours, as it might be too obvious) we will add them to the “LS Registration Started” campaign. This campaign contains a single email (quite like the one Drip uses) that gets send immediately.

If however the user completes the signup process, Stripe will fire a custom “customer subscription created” event via Drip’s Stripe-integration. This will advance the workflow to the second trigger. After the second trigger the user will be moved from the “LS Registration Started” campaign to the “LS Customer Campaign”. There’s also a bit of tagging happening in parallel, but that does not affect the emails sent.

The last piece of the puzzle happens on the credit card details form during signup. There we use Drip’s Javascript-API to create a subscriber in Drip and fire the custom event:

_dcq.push(["identify", { email: ""}]);
_dcq.push(["track", "started ls registration"]);

That is all the magic there is. In just 30 minutes you can improve your signup rate by 15%!

Bonus: Follow Up for Even Better Results

After I had realized how effective those emails were I added a second follow-up email to further improve their efficiency. Here’s the email I send with LinksSpy:

Signup abandonment follow up email

Bonus Bonus: Taking the Concept 1 Step Further

Now I thought I had improved on the concept by sending a follow-up email, but Rob and the Drip team have taken the concept to another level. I realized this when I signed up for a number of SaaS businesses in preparation for my upcoming book “SaaS Email Marketing Handbook”:

They do not merely remind you that you tried to sign up at some time. They offer you to try Drip without a credit card!

Here’s the copy they use: Signup Abandonment Email no credit card

This is pure genius! They recognize that some people do not want to part with their credit card details during signup and allow them to signup without a credit card. At the same time they segment their users and take the credit card from the users who do not have the same objection.

This might not be as efficient as a well-honed onboarding process in combination with a no-credit-card-upfront signup, but it certainly is an improvement over a credit-card-upfront-only funnel. I should sure love to see the results of this marketing experiment.


Signup Abandonment Emails are a smart and easy way to optimize your signup funnel with minimal time investment.

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